Which Class Should I Start With? Barre, Pilates or Yoga?

September 20, 2022 7 min read

Which Class Should I Start With? Barre, Pilates or Yoga?

With so many options out there it can be hard to work out what’s right for you, especially if you’re brand new to fitness and don’t know where to start. While trying it out for yourself is always the best way to go, here’s some tips to help you understand which class may suit you best.


1. Know your fitness goals

There are many different ways to stay fit and healthy. You can run, walk, PT, group exercise classes and the list goes on. It can all be a bit overwhelming. So, how do you know what’s going to work for you?

The first step is knowing why. Are you looking to get back into exercise to simply improve your overall health and well-being? Is weight loss your goal? Are you recovering from an injury and need something more rehabilitative? Maybe your reason for working out is more mental than physical… whatever the reason, there’s a fitness style suited to it.

Here are some common goals to help guide you that we attach to all our class styles, so you can easily find your perfect match:


Weight loss –O

Muscle building –O

Overall fitness –O

Improving posture –O

Beginner friendly –O

Mental health –O

Pregnancy/post-natal/injury friendly –O 



2. Know your body (or get to know it!)

Something you’ll hear a lot when it comes to fitness styles is the concept of low VS high impact exercise. It may seem complicated, but all it really comes down to is the impact an exercise has on your heart rate and muscles. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is considered high impact exercise because it increases your metabolic rate very quickly, gets your blood pumping and often includes more impactful exercises like jumping and running. A common misconception about low impact exercise is that it’s less effective; this is entirely untrue. While the movements are less severe on your body since they are slower and more targeted, they still work just as well. So what does all this mean? Understanding whether or not your body can handle certain exercises is important in finding a class style you’ll enjoy. If you have any chronic conditions or injuries that may be exacerbated by jumping or intense cardio, you probably don’t want to be doing a high cardio class such as Reformer or Barre Blast. While almost all of Aleenta’s classes are low impact, there is still a spectrum of intensity from low to high, so it’s worthwhile understanding which level will be best for you. If you’re unsure, it’s best to try out something on the moderate to low side.


3. Know our class styles!

Now that you know your goals and you have your body’s capabilities in mind, you can match up your needs with Aleenta’s class styles. 

Barre

The style that started it all here at Aleenta, Barre is a form of low-impact exercise that combines the movements of ballet with workout principles such as repetition and resistance. Don’t worry, you definitely don’t need to be a dancer to take barre classes. Barre is ideal for anyone getting into fitness for the first time (or perhaps returning after a long hiatus) as it has elements of strength training and cardio all rolled into one, but without the gym bros or treadmills. You’ll use your bodyweight to resistance train, gaining a layer of lean muscle that will have you feeling fit and strong. If you are wanting #bootygains, you should definitely try it out. Barre also has a myriad of ways to modify, so if you are pregnant, post-natal, nursing injuries or chronic pain, there is always an alternative option for you in every exercise. But the best part is it is super challenging while also remaining easy on the joints. 

We have three barre classes here at Aleenta:


Barre Core

The lower intensity of the barre classes, it is perfect for all experience levels, ages and stages of life. Despite its title (which refers to it as a signature class, not a core class!) , this class has a full-body focus so will target all areas. It is great for those with more general goals like improving mental health and easing back into fitness. Dont get us wrong, it will still challenge you.


Barre Blast

This class incorporates short bursts of cardio throughout, so is perfect for those seeking to incorporate cardio into their routine whilst still having fun. A more moderate intensity, Barre Blast has less emphasis on resistance training, so if your goal is to build muscle in specific areas, this probably isn’t for you. However, it’s perfect for burning extra calories and increasing cardiovascular health, and is suitable for all experience levels. If you’re worried about jumping or running, don’t stress; the Aleenta team will have modifications ready for you!


Barre Strong

The highest intensity of our barre classes, Barre Strong borrows elements of HIIT training and weight lifting for a more resistance-training based class. This is one of our only classes that incorporates heavier weights, so if your goal is to build muscle or lose weight (yes, you read that right! Learn all about how weight loss doesn’t just mean cardio here), Barre Strong is your go-to. Don’t be fooled though, it is still a low-impact style and suitable for all with modifications at the ready. If you are brand new to fitness, we recommend starting with Barre Core before trying this class.


Pilates

Pilates has a lot of crossover with barre as both styles use variations of the same movements: barre has a basis in ballet technique combined with Pilates exercises. The main difference is that Pilates generally incorporates far less cardio and focuses more on resistance training. One of the fundamentals of Pilates is working from your centre, which includes the core, back and glutes. So, if you are looking to strengthen these areas, Pilates may just be the style for you. It’s also designed for improving posture and breath control.

Aleenta offers three types of Pilates:


Mat Pilates

One of our lower-intensity classes, Mat Pilates is perfect for anyone with rehabilitative goals for injuries, exercising during pregnancy, or chronic conditions such as back pain. If you are looking to gain strength but are tentative about heavy lifting, this class is a fantastic alternative as you’ll be working mostly with your own bodyweight. While it does use equipment, this class does not involve a Reformer machine, so is also great for Pilates beginners wanting to learn the basics without the added complexity of the machine.

Bodyformer

A low to moderately intense class, Bodyformer has many of the same benefits as Mat Pilates. The only difference? You’ll be working on a Reformer Pilates machine. While these may look scary, they are much easier to navigate than you think, and our instructors will be there to help you every step of the way. Reformer Pilates adds an extra bit of resistance to your own bodyweight with the use of springs. Each spring has a different amount of resistance, so depending on your strength level, these can be adjusted to your needs. Bodyformer is a great choice for those wanting a little extra challenge and more room to grow as you progress on your fitness journey.

Want to learn more about Reformer Pilates? Check out this blog.

 

Reformer Blast

HIIT training meets Reformer Pilates in this one-of-a-kind Aleenta class! If you love Pilates but are missing the intensity, this class is for you. The perfect combination of strength training and cardio, this class is ideal for those with goals such as weight loss. If you are brand new to fitness, or even just Reformer Pilates, we recommend giving Bodyformer a go at least 5 times before attending this class, as it moves at a fast pace and will be much more enjoyable if you already know your way around a Reformer machine. Due to the high intensity of this class, we do not recommend it for anyone nursing injuries or currently pregnant.


Yoga

Yoga is not just about physical exercise. The entire practice of Yoga incorporates aspects of mental health and spirituality, fostering a deeper mind-body connection. If you are on a journey for your mental health as well as physical, you may find added benefits in yoga than the regular rush of endorphins from our other class styles. Learn how to nourish your body, mind and soul with our three yoga class options:


Slow Flow

Experience a sense of flow in this steady and moderately paced yoga class, with its roots in Hatha, students will Link the breath to mindful movement by creatively transitioning through yoga postures (asanas). This slower-paced flow class allows time to explore the postures while cultivating strength, flexibility, balance, and calm. This class is beginner friendly and easily modified for pregnancy or post-natal clients. 


Strong Flow
 

Building from our mediative slow flow, this faster-paced vinyasa-based practice encourages immersion in breath connected movement leaving you feeling energised and centred. This energetic yoga flow class features intermediate shapes and stronger holds to cultivate strength, focus and energy. Are you a total beginner? We suggest starting with a slow flow to get to know foundational yoga shapes and their names to get the most out of our strong flow. 


Yin

Yin is a type of yoga practice with a greater emphasis on mindfulness. In this class, you will hold postures for up to 5 minutes, focusing on the breath and inner silence. It is the perfect class for those seeking techniques to better their mental health. Additionally, Yoga Yin is great for increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. If you sit all day at a 9 to 5, Yoga Yin will combat any stiffness with ease. This is our lowest intensity class with no cardio or strength training involved, so is perfect during late-stage pregnancy.



 

Hopefully this guide has helped you to learn more about the variety of options on offer. What’s most important is that you enjoy the class. Because if you enjoy it you will keep coming back. Consistency is the most important factor: simply get to class regularly!

Our 7-dayintro offer gives you 7 days of unlimited classes across all styles. The easiest way to get started is to download the Aleenta app and book your first class.  If you’re after further guidance, read our blog on how to prepare for your first classhere. We can’t wait to see you in the studio!



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